JUNE 27, 2017
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for records concerning the agency’s claim that the Clean Power Plan would prevent thousands of premature deaths by 2030 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (No. 1:17-cv-01217)).
The June 21, 2017, suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the EPA failed to respond to a May 3 FOIA request for:
All internal emails or other records explaining, or requesting an explanation of, the EPA’s decision to claim that the Clean Power Plan would prevent between 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths by 2030.
The controversial Clean Power Plan, aimed at cutting carbon emissions from existing power plants by 32 percent by 2030, was touted by the Obama administration not only as a way to forestall global warming but also as a means of providing large health benefits to the American public. The Plan, first proposed by the EPA in June 2014, was implemented through regulatory interpretation of the Clean Air Act after the Congress refused in 2009 to enact cap-and-trade legislation to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions.
By law, the EPA must conduct a cost-benefit analysis to accompany each new major regulation it promulgates. The cost-benefit analysis produced to justify the regulations underlying the Clean Power Plan claimed to prevent thousands of premature deaths each year as well as reducing serious health complications the agency associated with coal-fired generation plants. In an August 2015 press release announcing the Plan, then-EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy claimed: “By 2030, the net public health and climate-related benefits from the Clean Power Plan are estimated to be worth $45 billion every year.”
The regulatory plan, like the legislation Congress rejected, was promoted as combating “anthropogenic climate change” and was designed to mandate the shifting of electricity generation away from coal-powered plants. On March 28, President Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA to begin the legal process of withdrawing and rewriting the Clean Power Plan, which would have closed hundreds of coal-fired power plants, halted construction of new plants, increased reliance on natural-gas-fired plants and shifted power generation to huge new wind and solar farms. On June 1, President Trump also announced the United States would cease participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation.
“We suspect fraud ‘science’ behind the Obama EPA’s claims in the Clean Power Plan, which is a scheme to end coal energy under the guise of combatting alleged global warming,” said Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton. “The Trump EPA can drain the swamp by releasing this Obama era EPA data immediately.”